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Context-free measures of wellbeing

Context-free measures of wellbeing usually consist of scales whose items refer to a range of positive and negative states.

The items contained within these measures refer to moods that are not specific to a particular context.

Warwick-Edinburgh Mental Wellbeing Scale (WEMWBS)

A good example of this type of context-free measure is the Warwick-Edinburgh Mental Wellbeing Scale (Tennant et al. 2007). This is a self-report measure that is administered in an individual format, using the pencil and paper method. Overall scores are calculated by adding the score of each individual item. The scale designed to measure a broad conception of wellbeing, including affective emotional aspects and psychological functioning.

The WEWMBS scale is a relatively short scale with 14 items in total which are clearly written in a way that is accessible to young people.

Sample items include on the survey include, ‘I’ve been interested in new things’ and ‘I’ve been feeling good about myself’. The scale utilises a five-point Likert scale, ranging from ‘none of the time’ (1) to ‘all of the time’ (4), and is scored by summing all the items into a total wellbeing score. This score has a range of 14–70.

How valid is the WEWMBS?

The WEWMBS has been shown to have good validity. It has an internal consistency of .80 (Cronbach alpha) as well as good face validity and it was reported to cover the majority of a range of concepts associated with positive mental health. These include positive affect, satisfying interpersonal relationships and positive functioning.

In addition, this scale also seems less prone to social desirability bias. The correlation between overall score and the impression management sub-scale of the BIDR was lower in comparison to other measures that were tested, (not including the PANAS) (Tennent et al. 2007). Internal reliability for the present research was good at all three time points (α = .83, .89, .92 respectively).

Your task

Take a closer look at the Warwick-Edinburgh Mental Wellbeing Scale.

Do you think this is a useful measure for assessing employee wellbeing?

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Tennant, R., Hiller, L., Fishwick, R., Platt, S., Joseph, S., Weich, S., Parkinson, J., Secker, J., Stewart-Brown, S. (2007) ‘The Warwick-Edinburgh Mental Well-being Scale (WEMWBS): Development and UK Validation’. Health and Quality of Life Outcomes [online] 5 (1). available from https://locate.coventry.ac.uk/primo-explore/fulldisplay?docid=TN_scopus2-s2.0-38949168815&context=PC&vid=COV_VU1&search_scope=Primo_Central&tab=remote&lang=en_US [10th May 2019]

Warwick Medical School (2018) About (S)WEMWBS [online]. available from https://warwick.ac.uk/fac/sci/med/research/platform/wemwbs/about/ [29th March 2019]

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This article is from the free online course:

Wellbeing at Work: An Introduction

Coventry University